Welcome to UNKNOWN NEWS "News that's not known, or not known enough."
Helen & Harry's cranky weblog of news and opinion.

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Like the URL says, this website is about unknown news.

Our news comes only from mainstream, professional journalists or (rarely) other sources we trust entirely, with no nuttiness and no interest in the same news you see everywhere else.

What we believe

We believe in liberty and justice for all, so of course, we oppose many US government policies. This doesn't mean we're anti-American, redneck scum, pinko commies, militia members, or terrorist-sympathizers. It means we believe in freedom, as more than merely a cliché.

We believe you have the right to live your own life as you choose, and others have the equal right to live their lives as they choose. It's not complicated.

We believe freedom leads to peace, progress, and prosperity, while its opposite -- oppression -- leads to war, terrorism, poverty, and misery.

We believe it's preposterously stupid to hate people because of their appearance, their race or nationality, their religion or lack of religion, how they have sex with other consenting adults, etc. There are far more apropos reasons to hate most people.

We believe in questioning ourselves, our assumptions, each other -- and we especially believe in questioning authority (the more authority, the more questions). We believe obedience is a fine quality in dogs and young children, but not in adults.

Like America's right-wingers, we believe in individual responsibility, hard work to get ahead, and stern punishment for serious crimes. We believe big government should not be blindly trusted.

But unlike most right-wing leaders, we mean it.

Like America's left-wingers, we believe in equal treatment under law, war as a last (not first) resort, and sensible stewardship of natural resources. We believe big business should not be blindly trusted.

But unlike most left-wing leaders, we mean it.

Like libertarians, we believe it's wrong and reprehensible to arrest people for what they think, believe, look like, wear, eat, smoke, drink, inhale, inject, or otherwise do to themselves.

But unlike many libertarians, we're not obsessed with the gold standard, we don't believe incorporation is humanity's highest achievement, and we don't believe everything in life comes down to dollars and cents. We've read and enjoyed Ayn Rand's novels, but we understand that they're works of fiction.

We're skeptical, and we're sick of so-called 'journalists' who aren't skeptical at all.

A reader asks, what are our solutions?

We propose no solutions except common sense, which is never common. We like the principles of democracy, and the ideals broadly described as 'American'. The US Constitution is a fine and workable framework for solutions, when it's actually read and thoughtfully understood by intelligent statesmen and women. So, no manifestos from us. We don't dream that big, and if there's one thing the world doesn't need it's yet another manifesto.

Our suggestion is: think.

A fact-based instead of faith-based approach leads to solutions for most of the recurring issues of our time, from abortion to global climate change, pollution to universal health care, careful but real regulation of industry and economy, hunger, war, terror, human rights for humans not for corporations, science not religious doctrine in public schools, equal protection and prosecution under law, etc. Approach problems without glorifying stupidity, without demonizing intelligence, and answers usually come into focus.

These pages are published by Harry and Helen Highwater, happily married low-income nom de plumes and rabble-rousers from Madison, Wisconsin (with a few friends scattered around the world helping out).

We try to spotlight news that hasn't gotten enough (or appropriate) attention in American media, along with our opinions and yours.

We bang our keyboards against the wall, because it doesn't hurt as much as banging our heads.


June 2011 Our current posts August 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

      ♦ So I'm sitting in a doctor's waiting room, and who should be staring back at me from the cover of a recent Newsweek but former President Bill Clinton, offering his advice on how to restore American jobs. This from the Democrat who gave us the North American Free Trade Agreement, allowing outsourcing to grow by leaps and bounds. Bill Clinton's NAFTA is responsible a big chunk of the unemployment rate to this day, and will continue to be a giant contributor to unemployment for as long as NAFTA exists. So, Mr Ex-President, take your advice and shove it.
      Maybe in the next Newsweek, Michael Vick can write an article explaining how to prevent animal cruelty.

      ♦ Bill Clinton was, of course, a backstabber to the Democrats' alleged ideals, but Barack Obama is right up there when it comes to backstabbing. He's given away huge tax cuts to billionaires, kept America at war, stood in the way of gay rights, the list goes on and on, and now he's offering cuts to Medicare and Social Security. But Democrats will support Obama's re-election, a reminder (again) that I'm not a Democrat.

      ♦ Paul Krugman explains it: "President Obama has made it clear that he’s willing to sign on to a deficit-reduction deal that consists overwhelmingly of spending cuts, and includes draconian cuts in key social programs, up to and including a rise in the age of Medicare eligibility. These are extraordinary concessions. As The Times’s Nate Silver points out, the president has offered deals that are far to the right of what the average American voter prefers — in fact, if anything, they’re a bit to the right of what the average Republican voter prefers!"
      Yup, and well said. A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for an agenda that's "a bit to the right of what the average Republican voter prefers."

      ♦ And of course, President Obama will appoint some random dweeb, instead of Elizabeth Warren, to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

      ♦ Republican claims of a looming "light bulb ban" are bat crazy bullsh*t. How un-surprising.

More news and daily updates at  Dr Sputnik's Society Pages

Cops you won't see on TV's COPS
Sunday, July 17, 2011

Illinois sheriff's deputy charged with child endangerment is suspended with pay

Florida police officer is arrested in underage sex ring sting

Florida "Officer of the Year" suspected of drug dealing

TSA worker arrested after allegedly stealing iPad and stuffing it down his pants

A growing number of Los Angeles police officers who have used excessive force, driven while intoxicated, falsely imprisoned people or committed other serious misconduct are being let off without punishment as part of a new, controversial approach to discipline at the LAPD

Ex-Missouri police officer is charged in cold-case homicides

Virginia cops charged in murders, and stealing more than $43K from an 85-year-old woman

Minnesota sheriff's deputy charged with illegally revealing private information about a former jail inmate

DC police officer charged with sexually abusing three women while armed and on duty

Tennessee sheriff deputy fired, charged with improper euthanasia

Massachusetts correctional officer held on charges of stabbing husband

Georgia deputy jailer charged with hit and run accident

Louisiana sheriff's deputy arrested and booked with indecent behavior with a juvenile

Former Capitol Police deputy chief is arrested following an altercation

Illinois police officer charged with striking another cop

Pennsylvania police officer is arrested in casino brawl

Illinois cops found liable for arresting black meter reader who was working in white neighborhood

Louisiana police officer is charged in early morning fight

Florida prison guard arrested for drug conspiracy

New York public safety officer charged with manslaughter, DWI

12-year prison term for Alabama police officer who resigned after 120mph fatal drunk driving wreck

Probation officer accused of taking money from probationers

Former Pentagon police officer is sentenced for child sex offense

Missouri cop is in trouble for releasing arrested person in exchange for sexual favors

More bad cops  

Mystery links, mostly just for fun  
Sunday, July 17, 2011


Mystery links are offered with no implied endorsement of whatever's at the other end. You may be shocked or disgusted, but we don't care. Links in red are not safe for work, and links in pink include audio and/or video.

More mystery links  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

      ♦ President Obama says he'll be happy to cut Medicare and Medicaid, because of course. Just because. Just, of course.

      ♦ I am so weary of Barack Obama, who's made himself the finest Republican President since Bill Clinton. He'll always compromise, no matter how crazy the Republicans' position, and he'll never take a firm stand on any principle — the very definition of unprincipled. "Could be worse" is the best I can say about Obama, but as the American economy and American ideals swirl down the drain, "could be worse" isn't anywhere near good enough. The American future is bleak, my friend, bleak in the short-term and bleaker in the long-term because of the problems Obama's ignoring and increasing. Bleak.
      Obama is the face of the Democratic Party, because like Obama, most Democrats don't even try. When I'm doing something, I try to do it well, and I don't have any respect — or any votes — for people who don't even try.
      It would be nice to see a non-Republican President in my lifetime, but I don't see any likelihood of that. I'll probably vote in 2012 — old habits die hard — but I'll vote Green where that's possible and leave a lot of other ballot choices blank.

      ♦ Should we respect this guy, who gave his life for what he believed, or should we just snicker? A motorcyclist, participating in a protest against helmet laws by driving without a helmet, died after he flipped over the bike's handlebars and hit his head on the pavement.

      ♦ The American captain of a ship bound for Gaza is being held in "shocking conditions," by Greek authorities, we're told. Shocking conditions? Really? Well, if that troubles you now, where've you been for the past decade as torture became the American way? By America's new bipartisan Bush-Obama standards, this American can be tortured, even tortured to death, with no need for any worries. Geneva, schmeneva. After watching American officials get away with torture, after enshrining what's inarguably torture as American policy, Americans don't really have any standing to be "shocked" any more, at the conditions under which anyone's held by authorities anywhere.

      ♦ An un-paid but enthusiastic plug: Sam Seder does a daily podcast that's brisk, informative, entertaining, and hands down the most worthwhile listening I've found. Subscribers get some perks and make the program possible, but the podcast itself is free for the listening — and if you're not listening you're not as well informed as you ought to be.

More news and daily updates at  Dr Sputnik's Society Pages

Cops you won't see on TV's COPS
Thursday, July 7, 2011

Florida correctional officer arrested in drug sting

Vermont deputy accused of assault is now facing more charges for allegedly calling his accuser and threatening her

Fired Florida deputy gets 27 months in fraud case

Ohio police Tase and pepper spray mentally handicapped teen after mistaking speech impediment for "disrespect"

Nebraska cop charged with assault at 'Nebraska City Rampage'

Bail review set for California ex-detective in off-duty death

Texas police officer fired, charged with stealing driver's gun

Former Idaho deputy bound over on 1st degree murder charge

Chicago cop is accused in $50,000 swindle of dad's estate

Former Missouri deputy in court on burglary, theft charges

Georgia detention officer sentenced to 5 years for fatal shooting

Fired New Jersey police officer charged with giving false info while seeking job

Car crash victim dies after being Tased by Florida police

Mississippi deputy jailer charged with sexual assault

Florida deputy arrested, relieved of duty in excessive force case

Fired Oregon sheriff's deputy arrested for rape

Tennessee deputy jailer arrested for rape

Indiana deputy arrested for domestic violence

Un-named Florida deputy arrested, under investigation

Fired Arizona police officer arrested for alleged sex offenses involving children

Alabama corrections officer arrested on charges of sexual conduct with an inmate

Charges filed against Florida officer accused of targeting and robbing Hispanics

Florida cop guilty of molesting daughter

Tennessee police officer arrested after producing gun during domestic dispute

Texas police officer charged for trying to kiss woman at traffic stop

Iowa police officer arrested for domestic assault

Georgia sheriff says to expect more cops to be arrested as federal investigation into corruption continues

Maryland police officer admits participating in smuggling of untaxed cigarettes and alcohol in corruption case

Massachusetts jail officer convicted of drug smuggling

Mississippi family says deputies had wrong house when they interrupted party, used Tasers

More bad cops  

Mystery links, mostly just for fun  
Thursday, July 7, 2011


Mystery links are offered with no implied endorsement of whatever's at the other end. You may be shocked or disgusted, but we don't care. Links in red are not safe for work, and links in pink include audio and/or video.

More mystery links  

June 2011 Our current posts August 2011

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For in-depth news updates, we recommend Media Matters, ThinkProgress, and Washington Monthly.

A tip o' the hat to A.K. for CSS help, Daniel D., the letter Z, The Agitator, Bad Attitudes, Bob Cesca's Awesome Blog, JR Mooneyham, Newshoggers, Pharyngula, Photography is Not a Crime, Progressive Review, and Right Wing Watch.

Our website is prepared on a refurbished PC bought cheap and occasionally repaired by the good guys at Madison's Computer Store West. Typed and edited using Google Docs. Chairs from Goodwill, chips from Hy-Vee. Site hosted at the censor-free and reliably on-line pair.com, with an emeritus hat-tip to our first web-home at pitas.com, a dang fine place for new bloggers to start.

With no thanks at all to a few faux progressive sites that probably do more harm than good, including the ethically empty Huffington Post and the ceaselessly snarky Wonkette; with a full-frontal fart in the face to Francis Boyle, makethemaccountable.com, RadicalViews.org, free-lance reporter Sherwood Ross, TomDispatch.com, and anyone else who's added us to their email list without even asking (the answer would've been no); and with an enthusiastically flipped finger to the closeted Republican mouthpiece Politico.

The blog's homepage is unknownnews.org, and we welcome your comments at unknownnews@inbox.com. Our Twitter trail is twitter.com/unknownnews.

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Recommended sites for gathering unknown or underreported news:
 Media Matters   ThinkProgress   Washington Monthly   TruthOut 

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